Slack Explores the Current State of Work
Is today's workplace more complex than ever?
According to Slack, the modern workplace is more complicated than ever before.
Research from the market-leading collaboration company Slack, and market research firm, GlobalWebIndex found that in today’s rapidly evolving business space, employees need help making the most of their workdays. To survive in the new era of work, the most important factor seems to be “alignment.”
Slack’s The State of Work report for 2019 draws information from 17,000 knowledge workers around the world, from frontline employees to CEOs. The study found that in the time of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” having the right technology is only one piece of the puzzle. Today’s workers need to feel aligned with the rest of their workforce for businesses to see improvements in productivity, efficiency, and performance.
Today’s Employees Crave a Connection
As today’s employees struggle with more complicated work processes, Slack believes that alignment is the key to their engagement and continued productivity. After all, artificial intelligence and bots are quickly getting rid of many of the repetitive and monotonous tasks that used to fill up employee time. Now, staff members have more creative and complex tasks to focus on. To achieve their personal and business targets, these team members need to feel as though they’re connected with the rest of the team.
According to Slack, it’s no longer enough for the C-Suite to be the only team that understands the “big picture” in the workplace. Instead, the State of Work report found a direct connection between the communication of the company’s strategy, and people rating their companies as “excellent.” Unaligned workers who don’t understand the purpose of the business that they’re working for are more likely to feel isolated and disconnected. They’re also more likely to report low morale.
Slack found that when workers understand their business strategy, 88% feel as though they understand the benefit of their work, and 84% feel aligned with their company’s vision. On the other hand, when workers don’t’ understand their company’s strategy, only 33% can see the impact of their efforts, and only 22% feel connected to their company’s vision.
Alignment Affects the Business Bottom Line
Slack found that businesses that fail to deliver alignment for their team members don’t just struggle with an absence of morale among team members. There are clear and financial benefits to investing time and resources into an aligned workforce.
When people feel connected to the team, they’re almost twice as likely as unaligned workers to expect “significant growth” from their workforce. Additionally, your employees are more willing to act on the optimism they feel about the brand too. Three-quarters of aligned workers in the Slack report said that they feel empowered to make strategic decisions or pursue new opportunities to benefit their team. Aligned workers focus their time and effort on doing high-impact strategic work that makes a difference to the growth of the company overall.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple one-size-fits-all solution to creating an aligned workforce. However, Slack believes that the path to success starts with frequent and consistent communication. Today’s aligned workers crave constant insights from their teams. They want to see the latest updates on their company’s strategic goals, and they want a way to stay connected with their peers. Slack found that knowledge workers that can communicate on an hourly basis are the most likely to feel aligned.
Overcoming the Alignment Paradox
While Slack notes that the benefits of an aligned workforce are clear, it’s worth noting that there is a need for businesses to find the right balance. In today’s fast-paced work environment, companies often believe that the best way to improve alignment is to double down on meetings and introduce more tools. However, 81% workers say that they’re already using more apps than they did five years ago. What’s more, 64% say that they spend 30 minutes or more switching between apps each day.
With 51% of respondents saying that switching between apps makes it harder for them to get work done, it’s essential for businesses to make sure that they’re not overwhelming their employees. The key to success in creating an aligned workforce isn’t just giving teams more apps to handle. It’s about finding a way to integrate the tools that your employees need.
According to Slack, the best, most effective way to align the workforce, is to empower your team members by consolidating crucial tools into a flexible collaboration platform. You can see more insights from Slack’s full The State of Work report.